It is generally recommended that, prior to the filing of a patent application, a patentability search be conducted of the U.S. Patent Office records in an effort to determine the probable patentability of a particular invention. Although searches are never so exhaustive as to guarantee that an invention will or will not be patented, they provide a good source of background information to assist in recognizing and defining the true invention. A patentability search will range in cost depending upon how thorough and exhaustive the search is. The more time a searcher spends digging through the Patent Office records, the more expensive the search will be.
The actual searching of Patent Office records is generally conducted by one of many patent searching agencies in Washington, D.C. The agency simply locates patents which its searcher feels have some relevance to the invention at hand. The results of the agency search are then forwarded to a patent attorney to evaluate and interpret the discovered patents and render an opinion as to the patentability of your invention.
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